Saturday, 10 December 2005

WTO threatening last ancient forests

Greenpeace warns WTO threatening last ancient forests

HONG KONG (Reuters): Environment activist Greenpeace warned the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Friday that further opening of forestry trade threatens the remaining ancient forests, particularly in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Brazil.

"Liberalization in the forestry sector must be halted immediately," Greenpeace said in a statement following a study into the forestry trade.

"Liberalization is likely to magnify destruction ofrainforests and increase illegal and unsustainable robbing, particularly in the poorest countries."

The call came ahead of the WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong next week, which is likely to be bogged down by differences over farm trade among its nearly 150 members.

The Doha round of global free trade talks aim at lifting hundreds of millions of people in the developing world out of poverty through increased trade.

"The biggest problem is there is a lot of illegal logging," Daniel Mittler of Greenpeace told Reuters. "Especially the Asian forests are increasingly destroyed for exports to China."

Greenpeace's latest study illustrated how the WTO had systematically stalled political action aimed at preventing the destruction of forests.

The "World Trade Organization is pushing for less regulation rather than more ... which would take us exactly into the wrong direction." (**)

December 10, 2005